CTA defends Ventra fare payment system

April 1, 2013 3:43:08 PM PDT
CTA officials defended the new Ventra fare payment system at a state legislative hearing Monday.

Riders can use the Ventra Card to pay for rides on CTA and Pace. The Ventra Card is reloadable, but those with debit or credit cards can use their own cards.

However, some legislators appeared skeptical of the new program. Critics say the debit card feature is the most controversial aspect of Ventra.

At the hearing, State Representative Al Riley of Hazel Crest questioned fees on the debit cards.

But CTA President Forrest Claypool said the debit card fees are near the lower end, and emphasized that the debit feature is voluntary.

"There are a lot of benefits to people who don't have banking relationships that this card will offer an alternative to," said Claypool.

While Pace has joined the Ventra system, Metra has not.

The current CTA and Pace cards are expected to be phased out by early 2014.